EATING alone? So often, it just seems easier to chuck something on a slice of toast for dinner when you’re dining solo, than go to the effort of cooking a whole proper meal.

For food writer Janneke Vreugdenhil, her toast topping of choice was anchovies and avocado. But after six months of living alone the Dutch cookery book author and critic finally seared herself a lone wolf of a steak.

“In the beginning, it felt really strange,” she recalls. “I thought, ‘It’s silly, I’m all alone, why am I going to all this trouble? Why don’t I just eat a bag of crisps in bed?’”

That process of swapping dinners of crisps, supermarket soup and bowls of oatmeal, led to her rediscovering her joy of food, and to recipe ideas, and finally to Solo Food, a cookbook of dishes perfect for one.

She considers the book her “therapy” because it drove her to cook for herself daily, and enjoy it, until “it became a new normal thing to do”. Why don’t you give it a try too?

Pisto Manchego

(serves 1) It might look like breakfast for dinner, but this easy dish is so much more.

In fact, Dutch food journalist Janneke calls this recipe “a kind of pisto manchego”. Whatever you call it, it’s a quick, one-pan dinner that’s ready in under half an hour.

It’s pretty healthy too. Here’s how to do it...

Olive oil, for frying 1 small (or 1/2 large) onion, cut into half rings 1/2 red pepper, deseeded and sliced into strips 4 slices of Serrano ham or chorizo, chopped 1/2 courgette, sliced into half moons 10 cherry tomatoes, halved 2 eggs A few fresh basil or flat-leaf parsley leaves Salt and freshly ground pepper, to season Heat a small splash of olive oil in a frying pan, add the onion and a pinch of salt and fry for two minutes over a high heat until the onion begins to brown.

Add the pepper and fry for two minutes more. Add the ham or chorizo and fry for another minute. Add the courgette and fry for two more minutes. Add the tomatoes and fry for another two minutes.

Make two depressions in the vegetable mixture and break in the eggs, then cook for two to three minutes until the eggs are set, covering the pan for the last 30 seconds. Sprinkle over a little more salt if necessary, and in any case with a generous amount of freshly ground pepper, and finish with one of the herbs.

Serve immediately with rustic bread

Quinotto with fennel, almonds and avocado

(serves 1) Olive oil, for frying 1 shallot, cut into half rings 1 small fennel bulb, cut in half and sliced 100g quinoa 250ml hot vegetable stock (from a cube) Handful of almonds, skin on 1 small avocado Juice of 1/2 lime A small handful of fresh coriander leaves, chopped Salt and pepper, to season Heat the olive oil in a small heavy pan and add in the shallot, fennel and a small pinch of salt. Saute for a few minute, then add the quinoa and fry a bit longer, stirring well.

Pour the stock into the pan, bring to the boil, turn down the heat to low, then cover the pan and cook for 15-20 minutes until done.

Toast the almonds in a dry frying pan.

Remove the peel from the avocado and cut the flesh into largish chunks - sprinkle them with a little of the lime juice to keep them from turning brown.

Remove the pan with the quinoa from the heat and stir in the almonds, avocado and coriander. Taste and season with black pepper, lime juice and, if necessary, a little more salt. Put everything into a bowl, grab a spoon and dig in.

Good old steak sandwich

(serves 1) Is there anything better than a proper grilled steak sandwich? This one, from Dutch food writer Janneke’s new book, comes with a mustardy mayo and topped with onions too. Whip one up for yourself as a treat...

1 shallot, sliced into rings A small splash of red wine vinegar 1 entrecote steak (around 150g) 1/4 baguette or a crusty bread roll 1-2tsp Dijon mustard 1-2tbsp mayonnaise 1 head little gem, leaves separated Salt and freshly ground pepper, to season Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6. Put the shallot rings into a small bowl, add the red wine vinegar and let it sit for 10 minutes.

In the meantime, place a griddle pan over a high heat until it’s very hot. Rub some salt into both sides of the entrecote. Fry the meat for one to one and a half minutes on each side. Place it on a cutting board, grind over some pepper and let it rest for a bit.

Warm through the French bread or rolls in the hot oven (or slice them open and toast in the steak pan). Meanwhile, stir the mustard into the mayo in a little bowl, to taste. Slice the warmed bread in half lengthways, then spread both halves with a generous amount of the mustardy mayo and add some lettuce leaves.

Slice the entrecote on the diagonal and arrange the slices in the sandwich. Squeeze as much liquid as you can out of the shallot rings and sprinkle them over the meat. Top with the other half of the bread, and dinner is served.